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Wednesday Whimsy #18

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Paris, June 2014

Bonjour Mercredi! It has been a topsy-turvy few months for me. I'm transitioning into not working outside of the house. I hesitate to use the words "homemaker" and "housewife" because the former I don't like and the latter, well, I feel like it is different today than it was in the mid-20th century. So I've been exploring what this new life of mine is going to look like. Mostly, cat nanny. On to the French things this week:


Book
Ann Mah's latest book, The Lost Vintage, comes out next Tuesday 6/19. I haven't read it yet, but I loved Mastering the Art of French Eating (I've been wanting to reread it) and she is writing a French Instant Pot cookbook so I am excited to pick this one up.

Links
Marriage advice from French women.
Beauty Advice from Eléonore Toulin. (This is where I heard about the La Roche-Posay facial cleanser that has made a big difference for me.)
A Bookworm's Guide to Paris.

TV
Have you heard of Kanopy? You connect through your library card and have access to a ton of movies (lots of French movies!). Last Friday I watched Breathless and Tokyo Fiancée. I loved Tokyo Fiancée so much that I set out the next day to find a copy of the book it is based on.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

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I almost didn’t get through this one. I received Unbury Carol from a giveaway at ECCC and it was one of several that I really looked forward to reading.

I’m conflicted because there were several good qualities to this book but overall it really didn’t do it for me. As you can tell from the description, Carol has these spells in which she appears to be dead but she isn’t. Her husband decides to bury her alive because she makes him feel like he’s living in her shadow and he wants to feel like a man. Interesting premise going on.

I really like the way each new character is introduced. With a lot of books I’ve read recently I feel like the author jus throws characters at you and you’re left struggling to keep them straight. These are slowly introduced so you get a chance to know them and feel comfortable with them before moving on to another one.

There’s a weird supernatural element to this book that never gets completely explained in the end. Regarding it, there are several parts in the book where you don’t know what the heck is going on and he seems like the characters are going crazy. This is probably the main reason why I kept reading and I didn’t even get a resolution!

There are interesting nods towards horror and darkness, even losing your mind, which is intriguing but it doesn’t feel like enough to me. In the end this book does not feel ready to be published and still needs a lot of work. I’ve heard good things about other books but this author but I don’t plan on reading any for myself.

2/5 Stars

Spring

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It's April 8th and Spring temps aren't anywhere in sight in Seattle. From what I can tell it is still in hiding across the country. Maybe soon?

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

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Strange Practice is about Greta Helsing, descendent of the Van Helsings and doctor to the undead, and three of her friends trying to find the person (or persons) terrorizing London. Overall, I really liked this book. It has unique characters and I've discovered recently that I really enjoy a book with a medical or scientific theme that is written so that the non-scientifically inclined can understand and enjoy it. However, I did have several issues with the book.

Until the fourth chapter I thought the book took place in the late 1800's; It does not - it is present day. There were a few insights to that along the way but really I feel that it should have been made more clear. The audiobook narrator, Susanna Hampton, has a wonderful voice and reads well, however it would have been nice to have a pause between changing points of view because there are several to keep track of. I think this contributed to my main issue: I had a difficult time keeping the three main male characters straight. Two vamps and a demon make Ruthven, Varney, and Fass. I ended up keeping notes on a post-it to reference each POV change. I would have also liked a bit more background on the supes, especially the difference in a vampire and a vampyre and why they can be in the sun.

There were also some minor story/character issues, but overall I am intrigued enough by Dr. Helsing to look forward to reading the second book in the series.

3/5 Stars

Tasting Paris Cookbook (Early Review)

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When Clotilde Dusoulier announced that she was coming out with her fifth book I may have lost it a little. In a good way. I have all of her books, love her blog (Chocolate and Zucchini, which is one of the first blogs I ever read), and even hired her for a food tour of Montmartre when we were in Paris in January 2017. She has such a healthful and unique approach to food, using and combining ingredients I never would have thought of myself.


Tasting Paris is Clotilde's most approachable cookbook yet. Whenever I get a new cookbook I go through it, page by page, writing down each recipe I'd like to try. The recipes I make note of are those that aren't too intimidating and I would feel comfortable making that night for dinner if all of the ingredients were in the kitchen. Most cookbooks I go through have ten or fewer, some have 20-30, but Tasting Paris has 50 recipes that I want to make right now. 

I have already made the Oven-Roasted Ratatouille into Ratatouille Pita Sandwiches with Chopped Eggs & Tahini Sauce. This week I am making the Classic Ham & Bacon Quiche and Roasted Squash Soup & Curried Cheese Quenelle. Soon after that I'll be making a Potato Chip & Chive Omelet, Croque Madame, and Tuna Escabeche. There's a comfortable mix of super easy recipes, regular weeknight dinner recipes, and others that are a little more intimidating to the average cook. But for those that fall into the "intimidating" category, the ingredients and steps are very approachable and will only require a little courage to get started (I'm looking at you, Kouign Amann).

My version of the Ratatouille Pita Sandwich.

Frisée with Bacon & Egg. Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

Salted Caramel Flaky Pie (Kouign Amann). Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

Classic Ham & Bacon Quiche. Photo courtesy of Clotilde.

The photography was shot by Nicole Franzen and it is absolutely stunning. There is almost a photo for each recipe but a few are missing. Keep an eye out for more recipe reviews in my Wednesday Whimsy posts and a compilation post in a few weeks.

If you haven't yet, please go check out the Chocolate and Zucchini blog and if you have an interest in cooking (or know someone who does) you can pre-order or buy Tasting Paris here or pick it up in a bookstore tomorrow, March 20, 2018! I am honored to be a part of the Tasting Paris launch team, for which I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 Stars
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Wednesday Whimsy #17

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Bonjour and happy Wednesday. I spent last week recovering from ECCC and going to even more author events. On Monday I went to see Anne Bishop and Patricia Briggs at the University Bookstore and on Wednesday I went to see Zack Davisson, who did a presentation on the supernatural cats of Japan. This week I had a new book club meeting on Monday and tonight I am going to see Leslye Walton (I know her from The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) for her release of The Price Guide to the Occult. It's going to be another fun and busy week.

Book

I recently reread My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Not only is this book enjoyable to just real through but the recipes also looks amazing. I've started buying cookbooks for my kindle so I can read and cook from them on my iPad. Plus, if you keep an eye on them, you can often find them for 1.99 - 2.99. Yes, please!

A second book mention: I got an email from Amazon this morning to let me know that Antoine Laurain has a listing for a new book coming out later this year. It looks like Smoking Kills came out about 10 years ago in France and we are getting a translation at last. I've already pre-ordered my copy.

Links
An interesting and informative write up of the different between Brie and Camembert. Do you have a preference?
Will this marriage advice be the newest trait for Americans to adapt from the French?
French travel essentials from Sabina Socol.

TV
Last week I mentioned Netflix's Witnesses and this week I'm talking about La Mante. I loved Witnesses a lot so I was very surprised when I liked La Mante even more. La Mante is a serial killer who is in jail for life. Suddenly a copycat starts killing and La Mante offers to help with the case but will only deal with her son, who is estranged from her and a cop. Oh, and no one knows she is his mother. This was a thrilling show and it was so exciting to find out who the killer was.

For those of you local to Seattle, this year's French Fest has been announced.

Wednesday Whimsy #16

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Bonjour and happy Wednesday. And happy March! Where did February go? That month was pretty uneventful for me and then March kicked off with Emerald City Comic Con and four author events to follow throughout the month. It's a great month to be into books.

Book
I am so excited to have made it on to the launch team for Clotilde Dusoulier's new book, Tasting Paris. It will feature 100 recipes to make me (and you) feel like I am one step closer to being truly French, just... not. Be sure to pre-order the book and following along here and on Instagram for sneak peeks before it releases.



Links
How spending a year in France made this mom more tough.
An artsy view of Paris.
How to dress Parisian from a Parisian.
After finishing two great French Netflix shows (more below) I'm happy to hear Amazon is following their lead.

T.V.
A few weeks ago I binged Witnesses on Netflix and couldn't get it out of my head. It's about a woman who is a cop and I think it brings just enough foreign flavor to make an old thing (cop show) feel exciting. I also now love Marie Dompnier, who is the lead in the show. Watch it and let me know what you think! P.S. Are you on TV Time? It's an app I use to keep track of what tv shows I'm watching and what I have watched. Add me here. P.P.S Did you see they added another season of Marsailles?! I'm watching that next.

Have a great week.